Shelf:Life - Links to what's new in the world of old, rare, and collectable books, insights into book collecting, the news stories that matter, and occasional comments by TheBookGuide.  Archived Stories.

September 2014

Keep Calm And Carry On poster up for auction
An original of what could be the most-mimicked poster of all time is up for auction in Lichfield on Tuesday ... more  Add a comment

Marilyn Monroe rare negative sold
A rare negative of legendary movie star Marilyn Monroe, taken during her first professional photo shoot when she was 20 years old, has been sold at auction. The picture, along with the negative and copyright, was sold for £4,250. It had been expected to fetch between £5,000 and £8,000. ... more  Add a comment

The London Art Book Fair
Whitechapel Galley is presenting a book fair that reportedly presents the best in international contemporary art publishing. The viewer can browse beautiful artists' books, rare art publications and catalogues from over 80 publishers. The three day event also hosts a collection of talks and performances ... more  Add a comment

Napoleon and Josephine's marriage contract sold
They were among history's most celebrated lovers: Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais. Now, the marriage contract signed by the lovestruck pair on 8 March 1796 has been sold at auction for several times the estimated price ... more  Add a comment

Mary, Queen of Scots letter 'could fetch $20,000'
A letter signed by Mary, Queen of Scots months before her execution is due to be auctioned. The manuscript, dated 30 April, 1586, was written while the monarch was incarcerated at Chartley Manor in Staffordshire. ... more  Add a comment

Laurie Lee's Rosie
This week, Rosalind Buckland, a woman of almost 100 years old, died. She often told stories about her rural past to her family. It was a past that was, in fact, well-known to millions of readers, as she was a cousin of Laurie Lee, and the "Rosie" of his best-selling, sweetly evocative memoir, Cider with Rosie ... more  Add a comment

Teenage Jack Kerouac: in love with 'a goddess'
"I shall worship her with quiet dignity. I shall draw her attention to me by exploits, success, and possibly a small measure of fame," wrote a young, romantically inclined Jack Kerouac to a friend in one of a cache of letters by the Beat author that has come to light. ... more  Add a comment

London maps
Part of the Totally Thames festival, Mapping London is an exhibition of maps of the capital, dating from 1572 to 2013. Curated by Daniel Crouch, a leading specialist map dealer, it runs from 4 to 14 September at the gallery at Oxo Tower Wharf ... more  Add a comment

Camille Wolff - obituary
Camille Wolff, who has died aged 102, belied her appearance as a grey-haired great-grandmother by becoming one of Britain's pre-eminent dealers in the literature of true crime, a business she ran from her home, where biographies of mafiosi and studies of poisoners, torturers, axe-murderers and serial killers competed for space with accounts of famous capital trials ... more  Add a comment

Poem in support of British union goes on sale
Queen Anne I is depicted as a proud, jealous defender of a united Britain in a 1707 poem about England's union with Scotland that year which has just gone up for sale. As Scotland prepares to vote on the future of the 300-year-old union - with the Yes and No campaigns running neck-and-neck according to polls over the weekend - antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch unveiled a unique copy of Restoration playwright Elkanah Settle's "heroick" poem Carmen irenicum: The Union of the Imperial Crowns of Great Britain ... more  Add a comment

Sotheby's to auction map drawn by Lawrence of Arabia
A map, hand-drawn by T.E. Lawrence - aka "Lawrence of Arabia" - will be auctioned at Sotheby's in early November. The map, which was drawn shortly after the end of the First World War, was based on the legendary British military intelligence officer's notes of his famous five-day journey in May 1917 through the Al-Nafud desert in the northern Arabian Peninsula to the Red Sea port of Aqaba at the height of the Arab Revolt against Ottoman rule ... more  Add a comment

Book donations help fire-hit Glasgow School of Art library
The art school said it had now replaced almost a quarter of these books thanks to the "huge generosity of private individuals and institutions" ... more  Add a comment

Ordinary Beauty
Edwin Smith is perhaps the greatest British photographer left floundering in obscurity - a situation that a revelatory new exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects sets out to address. Smith was a master of architectural and topographical photography. During the post-war years he quietly toured the nation, photographing cathedrals, abbeys, follies, farm yards and fields just as these agrarian and Anglican influences began to lose their hold on our sense of national identity ... more  Add a comment

Tales of the earth
Ecological artist Basia Irland carves books out of frozen river water, she laces them with seeds to create works of art then leaves them to melt. The project, started in Albuquerque, promotes need to stop glaciers melting ... more  Add a comment

Campaign hopes to save William Blake's cottage
Fundraisers looking to raise £520,000 to buy the house where, he wrote, 'Heaven opens here on all sides her golden Gates' ... more  Add a comment

Arab film posters
Arab pop culture history is being opened up through film posters and other printed ephemera in a new ICA which opened this week ... more  Add a comment

Charles Dickens collectors see prices rise
Charles Dickens is arguably the nation's greatest novelist - as well as the most collectable. A signed copy of A Tale Of Two Cities was last month put up for sale for a record-breaking £275,000 ... more  Add a comment

Iconic selection of Man Ray photographs
The sale will be the most comprehensive offering of his work to come to the market in nearly 20 years ... more  Add a comment

Artists create book that turns black as it is read
As part of the London Art Book Fair, Camille Leproust and Andres Ayerbe have created a work printed on thermal paper that is occluded as it heats ... more  Add a comment

9m for Renaissance prayer book once stolen by Hitler
An Australian tycoon has paid nearly 9 million for a legendary prayer book that was once stolen by Hitler. The Rothschild Prayerbook was created during the 16th century but is surrounded by mystery ... more  Add a comment

When rare books go missing, booksellers band together
While large-scale thefts from libraries and museums tend to make news, antiquarian booksellers are also frequently the targets of thieves, whether in open shops, at or en route to and from book fairs, or when shipping books purchased over the Internet ... more  Add a comment

10 unusual and beautiful public libraries
Robert Dawson spent 18 years travelling across the United States to photograph hundreds of public libraries ... more  Add a comment

Miniature Sherlock Holmes book printed
A miniature Sherlock Holmes book written exclusively for Queen Mary's dolls' house is to be published for the first time in its original format ... more  Add a comment

Mackintosh library plan should be ditched, says expert
David Mullane, a former director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, who chairs the Friends Of The GSA organisation, believes a rebuilt version of library could be an "embarrassment" and a prime example of "Mockintosh". The Art School is to hold a symposium on the question of how to replace the library - which was gutted in the fire on May 23, although the archives were saved - but Mr Mullane believes Mackintosh's original cannot be "effectively replicated" ... more  Add a comment

One of world's oldest Christian 'charms' discovered
The find is believed to be one of the earliest references to the Last Supper and would have been used as a protective 'charm' to guard wearers from perceived dangers. It has been in the library since 1901 but researchers have now unveiled its true significance for the first time ... more  Add a comment

Illustrating a true fashion investment
Elegant sketches that were undervalued and ubiquitous in the fashion pages from the Twenties to the Sixties are becoming prized - and have won their own art exhibition ... more  Add a comment

"Book Surgeon" transforms old books
New York artist Brian Dettmer is known as the "Book Surgeon" for the skillful way he transforms old books into impossibly intricate sculpturesBook Surgeon ... more  Add a comment

Signed photograph of Adolf Hitler up for auction
A signed picture of Adolf Hitler discovered by a war correspondent in his bunker is to go under the hammer in Runcorn. William Forrest found the photograph when he was among the first of those outside the Fuhrer's entourage to enter the fortified air-raid shelter in the Reich Chancellery after it was overrun by the Red Army ... more  Add a comment

Doris Lessing's last gift: 3,000 books
Books from collection owned by celebrated author, who died last year, to go to Zimbabwe where she lived for quarter of century ... more  Add a comment

Hope Bourne's lost Withypool manuscript rediscovered
A little-known manuscript by a writer and naturalist, who became famous in the 1970s for her self-sufficient lifestyle on Exmoor, has been discovered after being "lost" for 45 years ... more  Add a comment